When using the internet, it is a good idea to be educated about the threats that exist in cyberspace. One small misguided click of the mouse can cause big headaches down the road if you aren’t familiar with how online threats operate.
Infection By a Virus
Computers can contract a virus in the same way humans can. Hackers write programs that can travel from one machine to another by utilizing a common communication tool, e-mail. It is estimated that over one-third of household computers have some type of virus. This is due to a lack of cyber security services installed on infected computers. The effects of a virus can range from spam sent to people on your contact list to the worst-case scenario of having your entire hard drive erased. Some viruses have been known to disable security settings also.
Phishing for Your Information
Phishing is a tactic used by hackers to extract personal information from unsuspecting internet users. The method relies on deceit and trickery to gather information. It can be considered a sophisticated form of social engineering in that the prize for perpetrators can only be won if the victim is coerced into giving up information. Financial information is the predominant type of data that criminals seek out with this type of ploy.
Gathering Information With Spyware
Spyware is perhaps one of the most annoying forms of a cyber-attack. Processing speeds of computers are slowed to a crawl due to resources that these programs highjack for their own use. Spyware can be used to collect credit card information, e-mail addresses, passwords and other sensitive information. If these key ingredients are collected from one person, the recipe for identity theft is complete. Be proactive in educating and protecting yourself from these threats. A small investment in protection can pay off big in the future.